News and Events: Open Positions

Postdoc Researcher in Computational Modeling of Multimodal Communication in Face-to-Face Dialogue

Deadline: Sunday 10 July 2022
Faculty/Services: Faculty of Science
Educational level: Promoted
Function type: Academic Staff
Closing date: 2 May 2022
Vacancy number: 8409

Are you interested in combining insights from cognitive science with computational linguistics? Do you have experience working with data-driven multimodal methods and / or computational approaches for analyzing dialogue? If you are excited about doing this kind of research in an interdisciplinary environment, with a team of friendly and enthusiastic colleagues, then you may want to join us.

We seek a Postdoctoral researcher for the project Understanding the Emergence and Maintenance of Cross-modal Convergence in Dialogue. Mutual understanding in dialogue requires convergence on mental representations of meaning between interlocutors. Such convergence emerges over time through the close coordination of interlocutors in real-time, and through building common ground by means of gesturing and speaking. Earlier conversational research has identified mechanisms of common ground building. However, it remains unclear how and when speakers converge when referents are signaled through naturalistic multimodal behaviors (i.e., speech and gesture). The project aims to advance the status quo by investigating the dynamics of multimodal referential processes and, ultimately, by developing a computational model powered by machine learning that captures multimodal referential convergence in dialogue.

What are you going to do

The project builds on a rich dataset of multimodal face-to-face dialogue that has already been collected, and seeks to combine natural language processing, body-motion analysis, and machine learning to identify and model, in a data-driven manner, processes of multimodal alignment in referential tasks. The project is part of the Language in Interaction consortium, in particular Big Question 3. The postdoc will be led and advised by researchers at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC), University of Amsterdam, and the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University. The researchers coordinating the project include Raquel Fernández (ILLC, Amsterdam), Asli Ozyurek, Judith Holler, Ivan Toni, and Wim Pouw (Donders Institute, Nijmegen). The postdoc will be based at the ILLC, joining the Dialogue Modelling Group led by Raquel Fernández, and will visit the Donders Institute regularly.

Your tasks and responsibilities:

  • carry out research as described in the project proposal, including developing data analysis algorithms for mapping out multimodal convergences and training multimodal deep neural network models for reference resolution;

  • present and publish at key international conferences and in leading journals;

  • contribute your expertise to joint research projects within the research groups;

  • participate in and contribute to the organization of research activities and events at the ILLC, such as workshops and colloquia;

  • make a small contribution to the ILLC’s educational mission, by possibly taking part in teaching and student supervision activities in areas related to your expertise.

What do we require

  • a PhD in Natural Language Processing, Computer Science, Psycholinguistics, Cognitive Science, or related field;

  • strong expertise in one or more of these areas: data-driven methods for data analysis, computational psycholinguistics, deep neural network models;

  • experience working with multimodal and/or conversational data would be an advantage;

  • experience working with motion capture and time series data would be an advantage;

  • the ability and willingness to work in an interdisciplinary team, with regular exchanges with a group of experts and collaborators;

  • excellent ability to write and present scientific results in English;

  • knowledge of Dutch is a plus (the dataset to be analyzed is in Dutch), but not a requirement.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours a week, preferably starting on 1 July 2022 for the duration of 24 months. The position must end by 30 June 2024, regardless of the starting date. You will be employed by the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam and be affiliated with the ILLC.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,836 to €5,230 gross per month (scale 10-11), based on a fulltime contract (38 hours a week). This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU) is applicable.

What else do we offer?

  • excellent possibilities for further professional development and education;

  • an enthusiastic, inspiring, and professional academic team;

  • the opportunity to collaborate with leading researchers at both ILLC and Donders.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the largest university in the Netherlands, with the broadest spectrum of degree programmes. It is an intellectual hub with 39,000 students, 6,000 employees and 3,000 doctoral students who are all committed to a culture of inquiring minds.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is an interdisciplinary research institute at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Humanities collaborate. Its central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary, and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, including computational linguistics, cognitive science, philosophy, computer science and artificial intelligence. ILLC offers an international research environment with world-class faculty in all of its areas of specialization. We are based in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, renowned for its historic system of canals, its laid-back cosmopolitan atmosphere, and its excellent connections to the rest of Europe and the world.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


If you have any questions about the position, please contact .

Job application

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis and the position may be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been found. The deadline to submit your application is 2 May 2022, but the vacancy may close sooner if a suitable candidate is found before this date. You are welcome to get in touch beforehand if you are thinking about applying.

You can apply online by using the link below.

Applications should include the following information:

  • a motivation letter (max one page, font size 11), explaining why you are a good fit for this position and including a link to a publication that is relevant to the current project (in terms of content of methodology);

  • a CV (max two pages, font size 11), including a list of publications, and a link to your PhD thesis;

  • contact details of two people who could be asked for recommendation letters.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

Application form: